Monday, August 03, 2009

The most basic, yet most effective muay thai block

Whether you train muay thai, MMA, krav maga, or any of the myriad close quarter combat / self defense systems out there, this technique is a must have for your personal arsenal. Remember, you saw it here first.

I'm gonna get straight to the point here. The defensive technique I demonstrate in the video below is one the easiest to learn and apply. I call it the 45 degree block because of the angle at which you hold your arms. Its amazing how effective it is in stopping elbows, hay maker punches and even high kicks.

As you'll see, when you step in with the 45 degree block, you end up in knee or elbow striking range. Its a great entry technique to counter off of a strike. Once you're in close range you choose to use hard techniques or soft techniques such as head control or joint lock take downs, depending on the situation. Oh, it also works well in a multiple opponent situation. With that block you can control (while softening him up with knees) while creating a barrier between you and the other attacker(s).

Historically, this block comes from muay chao cherk (muay chao churd), the ancient form of muay thai forged in the battlefield. After a soldier lost his sword, his best form of defense was to get deep inside the strike range his attacker where he can, yep, disarm his opponent, and use his body as a shield from the fray. Modern Thai military forces have also integrated the 45 degree block into the lerdrit system.


  1. This vid is great. I have seen it before on youtube... I´m from Brazil, and I starting my journey on the muay thai.

    I intend to learn a lot from your videos and blog, and be sure, if I lived in the States I´d come study in your gym.

    Peace, Rafael.

  2. Very good, we use the very same block (to us it's a modified age-uke or rising block) and our background is Japanese martial-arts: just goes to show the similarities between the different arts/styles, eventhough their methodology maybe different they'll always be a certain common-ground between them (fighting being fighting and human-beings having only two arms and two legs). In application they may look very different but certain principles will always remain the same: in this one it's the concept we call irimi (entering), negating his force and forcing him off balance by stepping inside of his comfort-zone and as a consequence making him miss (you're not where he thought you would be, plus you're bumping into him pretty aggresively).

    This particular block is very effective against all sorts of roundhouse-type attacks (be it a hook, a round-kick, a bottle or knife-strike from the outside) and it's versatile too: it flows nicely into various locks and throws and it puts you into an excellent position to employ your close-range weapons (knees, elbows, headbutt) as you've shown. If I'm not mistaken the same block is used extensively in krav-maga too (360° defense) but then again krav does have its roots in thaiboxing (among others).

    One difference in execution I noticed between your approach and ours is that you go straight in and block on the biceps, we enter straight also but twist a little at the end (blocking at his forearm) to better guide his arm past (especially useful when you want to throw). Either way the principle is the same and your explanation was sound. I'm enjoying your vids on the ancient thai-arts and picked up a technique or principle here and there that I will test and maybe incorporate into my training.

    You've given me a whole new perspective on thai-MA: before I only knew muay-thai (the ringsport) and I thought it was just a bunch of young, well-trained and conditioned blokes having a go at eachother (for reasons of ego and money), wat I missed was proper defense (which in my view should consist of more than staying put, covering up and taking the punishment) and this is exactly what I saw in your demonstrations. Keep up the good work!



  3. looks more like a 135 degree angle because you started from 90 and increased it :]

  4. I know this comment is a little late, but this style of reinforced blocking is common in Silat Serak as well as some Karate-do systems. It's good to know we are at least all on the same page!

  5. I completely agree with this article is
    Muay Thai the greatest style and that is why most fighters trained in this Art dominate in the MMA world. Thanks for this post